As discussions pick up between the GMs and the league around the subject of holding a virtual draft in June, so has discussions of the possibility of resuming the season via hub cities. The league has officially set out criteria that cities will have to meet to act as a hub city in the event that they go forward with this option for resuming the season.
Hub cities have begun submitting proposals to the NHL, following detailed criteria asked for by the league (details below). Testing is going to be a big issue to get sorted out and the process is underway. More substantive talks planned for next week between the Oilers and AHS. pic.twitter.com/A1pgrI7n3r— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) May 1, 2020
Within this model, one city will act as the host for their entire division, removing much of the need for (and risks of) travel... at least, until they reach the point where teams in separate divisions need to play each other (unless they award four separate Stanley Cups, which, y’know, is an intriguing possibility). Another hurdle with this plan of course includes the fact that the league will need to factor multiple weeks of quarantine into the schedule.
Sporting News has published an evaluation of each major Canadian city which might act as a hub in the event of hockey resuming only in select sites. Their breakdown includes both current cases of COVID-19 and what local governments have already stated on the matter, which knocks quite a few cities out of contention, including Montreal and Ottawa.
Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver seem to be the strongest Canadian frontrunners, on a balance between having the appropriate facilities and having a manageable number of active cases. Edmonton and Vancouver have reportedly already submitted their bid to act as the host in their division, though in that case only one of those two cities could be successful in hosting the Pacific, while Leafs president Brendan Shanahan has expressed his support for this model of resuming games.
In addition to the Oilers submitting a bid to the NHL to host games, Can also report that the Vancouver Canucks have also done so. League is going through the numerous proposals it has received.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) May 4, 2020
It’s worth noting that any return to play is going to represent a large increase in risk to the players themselves, no matter how many precautions are put in place. The more people who are interacting, the greater the risk of transmission, whether from another player or from a staff member – and even without any fans or media in attendance, hosting these games will take a significant number of arena, hotel, and team staff. The enforcement of isolation in these circumstances would also require players and staff to be separated from their families for an as-of-yet undetermined period of time.
There’s a new Leaf! Learn more about Mikko Lehtonen and his path to signing an ELC with the Toronto Maple Leafs:
Even more about Lehtonen (including videos) here:
Breaking down the possibility of Nick Robertson making an appearance in whatever the rest of the 2019-20 season ends up looking like:
First, an update on when we’ll be finding out when the draft will be held:
Good discussion on Board of Governors call re: NHL draft. No decision yet. Decision either this week or potentially now dip into next week.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 4, 2020
``We think it’s more important to get the right decision than to get a quick decision,'' NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said via email.
In case you missed it over the weekend, the league is currently pitching teams an early June, virtual draft:
And that’s about it so... here’s a video to wrap it up! Have a great Tuesday everyone! :)